Pakistan confirms Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan on Thursday confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in US drone strike in Balochistan on May 21, and said that the incident has added to the complexity of the Afghan conflict.

“All indicators confirm that the person killed in the drone strike was Mullah Akhter Mansour who was travelling on a fake identity. The DNA test result will be available shortly,” the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Thursday in a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

The advisor, however added that Mansour’s body would not be handed over to anyone till result of the DNA.

Sartaj Aziz said that the drone strike was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty as well as breach of the principles of the United Nations Charter governing the conduct of the states.

“We have conveyed our serious concern to the United States on this issue,” he said.

“We believe that this action has undermined the Afghan peace process.”

Sartaj Aziz said that in fifth meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) held in Islamabad on May 18, the participants including Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China had agreed that politically negotiated settlement was the most viable option rather than efforts should continue to bring Taliban on the table.

“This understanding has not been respected,” the advisor added.

The advisor further said that earlier in July 2015, talks were scuttled at a key stage when the issue of reduction in violence was to be discussed. In less than a year, the peace process has been scuttled twice.

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“We believe this approach will further destabilize Afghanistan, which will have negative implications for the region, especially due to the presence of large number of terrorist groups in Afghanistan,” the advisor remarked.

Sartaj Aziz said that in our view there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The use of force for past 15 years has failed to deliver peace.

“Pakistan believes that politically negotiated settlement remains the most viable option for bringing lasting peace to Afghanistan. The military approach has been tried for 15 years and could not achieve the objective,” Sartaj Aziz said.

Aziz said that Pakistan also believes that effective border management is vital for checking the infiltrations across long and porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The Afghan government’s cooperation in this regard is an imperative for mutual security, he said.

Moreover, he said that the presence of large number of Afghan refugees has become a big security risk as the terrorists and militants use the camps as hideouts for their nefarious activities. He said that effective measures should be taken on an urgent basis by the International Community for the repatriation of Afghan refugees.

“Pakistan’s desire for a lasting peace in Afghanistan is motivated by our conviction that peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential not only for the people of that country but also for the entire region.”

The advisor on foreign affairs said that Pakistan will continue to pursue the objective in close consultation with Afghanistan government and other members of the QCG.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Afghan Taliban also confirmed death of their Chief and announced to appoint Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada as the new top leader.

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The Taliban also appointed Sirajuddin Haqqani and former leader Mullah Muhammad Omar’s son Mullah Muhammad Yaqoob as Haibatullah Akhundzada’s deputies.

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